Student Union of University of Oulu (OYY) selected Viljami Viinikka as their new community specialist. During his two-year long post Viinikka hopes to be a specialist for the entire university community.
Viljami Viinikka, 25, started as OYY’s community specialist in the beginning of 2023. However, Viinikka is not a tenderfoot at the OYY office. He acted as vice president in OYY’s board during 2022 and was in charge of the community sector. “Work environment and assignments were quite familiar already, which aided in orientation”, Viinikka mentions. “Last year as the previous community specialist Eetu Leinonen’s journeyman he accustomed me to many tasks, but still the transition gets confusing from time to time”, he adds.
Fresh specialist instantly got off the deep end of work when he was assigned two major events both taking place in the first month of his employment.
The Student Union educates its societies’ active members in Active Clubs February 1st and 2nd. Since the community specialist acts as a link between OYY and societies, organizing the Active Clubs is his responsibility.
The second event, Löyly, targets the other significant stakeholder group on community specialist’s job description – international students. Löyly is a working life event held 25th and 26th of January aimed primarily towards international degree students, but open for everyone. The aim of the event is to offer practical guidance and tips in seeking a job in the Oulu area, and to provide information about Finnish working life. Another aim is to bring together employers in Oulu and international degree students. The event is fully in English. The program consists of keynote-speeches, workshops, panel discussions and cv-photography. OYY organizes Löyly in collaboration with OSAKO.
Viinikka ended up as community specialist after a deliberation of his own strengths. “Reasons for applying were quite the same as why I ended up applying to study chemistry back in the day: I considered how I could help people and what were my personal strengths. Naturally, societies and advocacy work are close to my heart as well.”
Societies really are familiar to Viinikka. Since moving to Oulu from Lumijoki to study chemistry in the summer of 2017, Viinikka has been a familiar sight not only in his subject organizations’ board presidiums but also in recreational associations’ boards. “Recretional associations luckily have a good footing in Oulu University, you can really witness the communality spirit here.”
Easy to approach yet easily approaching
Viinikka portrays himself as a project-person who enjoys learning new skills. “Continuous development is fun and so are new skills”. When he’s not playing karelian gorodki (kyykkä), he might be doing crafts or exploring new recipes in the kitchen. He tells a story about a time he made appleless apple pie. Reportedly people eating it had a really hard time believing it really didn’t contain any apples, so much it tasted like a real apple pie. “Baking links up with my interest in chemistry”, he says.
Viinikka also plays the accordion, and sometimes visits to play for albums for various projects. “Recently, I was even asked to go sing for one!”, he laughs.
Community specialist meets various, colorful people in his line of duty. Viinikka hopes to be the whole university community’s community specialist. For student organizations, a community specialist is a pillar, someone to ask guidance from and seek positive reinforcement. “I’m here to tell that very few things are the end of the world”.
Community specialist’s job description is divided roughly into two sectors: societies and international affairs. Social work demands for an easy to approach -kind of person, and exactly that Viinikka hopes for himself to be. Not only wishes he to be easy to approach, but has already instigated an ‘easily approaching’ -method for conducting business. “During my brief career I’ve already managed to personally walk straight to a guild room to solve one organization’s problem. I don’t know if previous society specialists have been so forward in their actions”, he laughs.
As one of the biggest challenges in the University community, Viinikka mentions the divide between international and other students. “The integration of international students to the rest of the student community is an on-going challenge that we must work on”. Especially Covid-19 put a set back to this work, according to Viinikka, and now extra attention must be paid to it.
As greetings Viinikka urges students to go to exchange. “It is a fine opportunity that vexatiously few students exploit”.
NAME Viljami Viinikka